CTBHHM: Surrendering Your Autonomy To Another

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 136—37

Sometimes Debi misinterprets Bible passages, and badly. More often, though, she simply adds things, brazenly, and without even offering any of her twisted scriptures to back them up. This wouldn’t be such a problem except that evangelicals and fundamentalists make a big deal of adhering to the Bible and the Bible alone, condemning mainline Christians for adding to the Bible.

God created Adam, and commissioned him to take the position of leadership. Since then, every son of Adam has received the same mandate. Man was created to rule. It is his nature. But the only place most men will rule is their own little kingdom called home. At the least, every man’s destiny is to be the leader of his household. To deny him this birthright is contrary to his nature and God’s will.

Okay, so, the thing is, I just reread the first chapters of Genesis. This idea that man was created to rule, and that that’s in his nature? Yeah, that’s not there. Look, I’m not denying that there is plenty of sexism in the Bible. There absolutely is. But I have too much respect for reality to tolerate Debi’s continually ascribing things to the Bible that simple aren’t there, anywhere. Since Debi claims that man was “created” to rule, let’s look at the first three chapters of Genesis. 

  • The commonly quoted “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over . . . every living thing that moves” command is explicitly given to both man and woman.
  • When God places Adam in the garden, he commands him “to tend it and keep it,” not to rule.
  • When Adam and Eve are cursed after the fall (i.e., this is not part of their created nature), Eve is told that her husband “will rule over” her. This is a curse upon Eve; there is no command to Adam.

I may be wrong, but I honestly don’t think there is anything whatsoever in the Bible saying that God created man “to rule.” And in my time as an evangelical I read through the Bible three times and memorized large passages of it. I think pointing this out is incredibly important, especially as those women who listen to Debi believe her teaching is rooted in the Bible.

And of course, as she offers reasons why wives should reverence their husbands, Debi continues to be extrabiblical.

When a man is not in command of his little kingdom and is not shown the deference and reverence that goes with that position, his kingdom will not be ruled correctly, and the subjects of that kingdom will not experience the benevolence of a king who truly loves and cherishes them. When you neglect to reverence your husband, you are taking something precious away from yourself, your children, and your husband.

When you don’t reverence your husband you are hurting . . . yourself. If you ask me, this paragraph is a case study in manipulation.

Debi follows this paragraph by pointing out that presidents are treated like respect by every citizen, regardless of whether they voted for him or not. Now first of all, this is not in my experience entirely true, but regardless, presidents are not only democratically elected but can also be replaced in four years if they exercise their office badly. Secondly, it strikes me that as with her argument that the husband is the commanding officer while the wife is the foot soldier, the power dynamic this sets un in a marriage is completely toxic. I mean, it’s not like the president lives in your house 24/7 ordering you around and expecting you to jump when he says jump, and it’s not like he even has the authority to do that. And if he did, that would be a problem. Really, with a president, it’s the office that is given respect, not necessarily the man who holds it, and Debi seems to be arguing that you must reverence your husband as a person, not just his position as your husband (whatever that would look like!).

In the next section, Debi gets more explicit about just what this reverence should entail.

Your husband is not there to show you deference or to be your helper. It is NOT God’s will for your husband to reverence you. It is not God’s plan for you to remain seated at the dinner table or in your lounge chair and expect him to serve himself. Our modern society has conditioned us to expect him to serve us. It hurts our feelings if if he doesn’t do things that we feel he owes us, but that is not the plan God set into place.

You know what I think is foreign to Debi? A relationship where both parties serve each other, while at the same time making sure not to neglect their own needs. Debi’s about to invoke the evil feminists, and that’s pretty clearly what she’s referencing in this paragraph too. Feminism isn’t about forcing men to serve women, it’s about rejecting the idea that women should be expected to serve men while they remain seated at the dinner table or in their lounge chairs.

Our culture stands diametrically opposed to God at every turn. It is time to realize that feminist beliefs have tainted almost all the public schools and even the best of Christian teachers.

Those evil horrible man-hating feminists. They don’t know their proper places as women—which, of course, is to wait on men hand and foot.

Women feel that they will lose some of their self-respect if they if they surrender to a man who is less than wonderful. Surrendering your autonomy to another is not for wimps. People say of an obedient woman, “Oh, she is just the meek and timid type; she needs to get a life of her own.” They know not whereof they speak.

Surrender. Yes, Debi is using the word surrender.

Also, I find it very confusing that Debi goes from endorsing “surrendering your autonomy to another” to laughing at the people who say that an “obedient” woman “needs to get a life of her own.” I mean, really? That whole part involving a woman “surrendering your autonomy to another” is the reason people say she “needs to get a life of her own.” If you surrender your autonomy to another, by definition you don’t have a life of your own. In fact, without autonomy you rather start to lose your own personhood.

This is not abstract, puzzling doctrine; it’s practical and pragmatic. The more I show my husband reverence, the more he treasures me and treats me like his queen. God made man so that our deference and respect feed his tendency to show tenderness and to be protective of us.

First off, nowhere in the Bible does God actually say that. Second, just because this works for Debi doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. Regardless of what Debi says, there is no natural law saying that when a woman reverences a man he automatically treasures her. It’s also possible that a man might want a woman to treat him as an equal and might recoil at being reverenced, or that a man might respond to being reverenced by becoming an egotistical dictator.

Also? Just as we say that women are not coin machines where you put in friendship and out comes sex, even so men are not coin machines where you put in reverence out comes tenderness. Debi seems to see men as machines, and if you just push the right buttons you’ll get out your desired results.

Reverence is not just how you act; it is how you feel and how you respond with words and with your body language. It is not enough to get up and serve him; your eyes and the quick, carefree swing of your body must indicate your delight to be engaged in serving your man.

And this is where it starts to turn into mind control. It’s not enough to reverence a man with your actions, you have to match that with your body language. And with the amount of times Debi is using the word “serve,” I’m starting to feel that the she should replace the term “help meet” with “servant.”

You cannot fool a man. He can see your heart as well or better than you can.

And that is creepy. And disconcerting. And bullshit. And manipulative.

Keep an eye on his dinner plate so you can anticipate his needs. Deference is a hot cup of tea while you take his shoes off after a hard day’s work. It is a glad face when he returns after being gone for a short time. It is thankfulness for his attention and affection. Deference to your man is the height of true femininity. It makes a woman beautiful, gracious, and lovely to all, but most especially to him.

And here is where Debi goes full 1950s.

Also, have you ever wondered what evangelicals and fundamentalists mean when they insist that women need to be “feminine”? Debi appears to connect that term to “deference to your man.” Ugh.

Next week we move away from abstract ideas and into some more personal stories.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Space Blizzard

    “It is not God’s plan for you to remain seated at the dinner table or in your lounge chair and expect him to serve himself”

    I have an anecdote about this that’s not directly connected to the issue at hand, but is more of a look at this principle in action.

    I have an aunt and uncle who live near me. The aunt is as far as I know) an atheist, the uncle is mildly catholic, but they both were raised in a fairly catholic environment- Ireland in 50s and 60s, which is about as catholic as you can get.

    I’ve been going over to their house for Christmas dinner most years ever since I was a child, and it’s only recently that I’ve noticed something seriously weird about how the food is prepared and served: the women don aprons and do all of the work while the men sit in the living room watching TV. The really strange part is that my family is extremely male-heavy, all of my cousins are boys, so what this amounts to is three women doing all of the work of cooking and preparing a meal for more than ten people. Back when me and my cousins were younger we’d sometimes be asked to help out but this stopped when we were in our late teens, the assumption apparently being that this was a job specifically for women and children.

    It’s kind of embarrassing how long it took me to notice this, but once I did I became extremely uncomfortable with the whole set-up. I have no idea how that arrangement came about- like I said, my family isn’t strongly religious or anything. But the attitude seems to be very similar to the one that Debbi is attempting to put a religious spin on in this chapter.

    • Christine

      As much as religious conservatives like to champion gender roles, the key word there is “conservative” rather than “religious”. The strict gender roles weren’t a religious thing, it’s just that the religious conservatives are conservative (opposed to changed) in other areas of their life as well. It could be that the family is conservative enough that they aren’t comfortable changing, or that they were just progressive enough back in the day that they don’t feel as much need to change as others might.

      • Ibis3

        Or maybe the women do the work because it’s expected (their traditional role is in the kitchen after all, and someone’s gotta do it) and the men take advantage (perhaps because of privilege). Space-blizzard. Now you’ve noticed, it behooves you to do something about it. Don an apron too and do your share. Perhaps it will inspire some of your other male relatives to do the same.

      • Nate Frein

        At least in the case of the Aunt and Uncle themselves, it may be that the uncle is inexperienced in the kitchen and his wife just hasn’t had the patience to break him in.

        My father raised me to know my way around the kitchen, but for whatever reason, most of the guys and girls I have dated were not. It does take patience to not just kick them out of the kitchen and get the work done yourself, especially if the kitchen is small.

        I will say there are very few things more immediately frustrating than having someone underfoot during high-stress meal prep. I’ve snapped at my share of wandering cousins and friends while cooking my own feasts.

        I also know that my maternal grandmother is exceedingly possessive of her kitchen. During cooking, she will not let you in and refuses to delegate tasks. Whether or not that comes from sexist or conservative or religious roots, I think it’s fair to respect her wishes in her house.

        I do echo that Space Blizzard should step up and find out how he can help, however.

      • gimpi1

        I concur, Nate. I am chief cook in my home, and I generally don’t want my husband to be trying to “help.” He simply doesn’t know his way around a kitchen the way I do, and because I do the vast majority of the cooking, I have my kitchen set up for my convenience. When he tries to assist me, he generally just distracts me by asking me where to find things that are in plain sight and by hitting his head on saucepans hanging from the pot-and-pan rack over my kitchen-island. (I’m 5’1″, he’s just under 6′. If I hang things so I can reach them, he hits his head.)

        For high-stress dinner-parties or holidays, I do as much prep-work the days before as possible, but I really don’t want someone underfoot on D-day. My husband finds other ways to help with parties, polishing silver, setting the table, moving furniture, picking up guests, and handling entertainment. They also serve who give Grandma a ride, change CD’s and keep the kids entertained.

      • alwr

        Agreed. My husband doesn’t even know how to make mac & cheese from a box. The kitchen is my turf and I like it that way. To be fair to his parents, his sister lacks most basic cooking skills as well, seems neither of them were taught at all–so it was not a gender thing. I love to cook. And I have learned to hate liberal, feminist discussions of who does the cooking because it seems in some circles, those of us who are female are not to be doing such traditionally female household tasks even if we do enjoy it and want to.

      • gimpi1

        Well, I’m a feminist, consider myself liberal, and I love to cook too. Doing what you love, and breaking your household tasks around your own desires is feminist as far as I can see. Any one who doesn’t get that isn’t a feminist (or very bright) in my book.

      • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

        Oh I really dislike those feminists.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        The solution? Go out to eat or order the big items and delegate side-dishes that can be prepared at each guests home.

    • BobaFuct

      My family is extremely religious, but isn’t quite so bad (but almost) with the gender roles. When my wife I and spend time with them, I think my mom and sisters get a little weirded out by the way my wife talks to me…for example, when I say something dumb, she calls me on it, or she expects me to clean if she makes dinner. Also, my male family members think I’m some sissy boy or whatever because I help in the kitchen. The good thing about it is that my wife and I lived together for a couple years before we were married, and my family got to see our very egalitarian relationship before we got married, so they can’t just attribute it to us being newlyweds, which some others in my family have done. “Oh so nice of you to help your new wife in the kitchen, that won’t last long, har har”.

      • Nate Frein

        I have enough burns and scars from cooking that I can sincerely say there is nothing sissy about being in the kitchen.

      • Anon

        I managed to get a couple of guys to stop making ‘get back in the kitchen’ jokes by smiling very creepily and reminding them that the kitchen is where all my knives are* and you do not want to piss somebody who knows how to use knives off.

        *Completely true. I have a gorgeous, gorgeous set of chefs knives which are kept in very good condition. I’ve been told that watching me sharpen them can be a little disturbing.

      • Jayn

        I am so filing this away in case I ever have the opportunity to use it.

      • Nate Frein

        My wife likes to joke that I’m happiest when I’m barefoot and in the kitchen.

        That aside, the “back in the kitchen” jokes were always weird to me. All my family members on my father’s side (the side I had the most contact with growing up) are competent cooks, while big dinners and complicated recipes were the domain of the patriarch.

        I know this creates it’s own sexist egalitarianism (“only men can handle high-stress cooking”), and I’m not defending it. It just makes for an odd disconnect sometimes.

      • stacey

        Funny. I have also been told that watching me sharpen my knives is creepy. I also have a great set of expensive kitchen knives, the biggest one is quite formidable.

      • onamission5

        Truth. I have burned myself so badly I bled, cut off the tip of my thumb, and I have slipped in butter then stabbed myself through my own hand. Restaurant work FTW?

      • Nate Frein

        Most of my scars are from the fact that I love working with power tools. And I’m clumsy.

        But plenty are from cooking.

        I don’t think I could work in a restaurant. I like cooking at home, but I think that trying to do it professionally would sour me to the idea. When I have some money, though, i’d love to invest in some classes.

    • Noelle

      Jump in next time and see what happens? They may or may not want your help, especially if they have a routine set up and there’s limited space. But it’s worth a go. People are often more open and chatty while cooking, so it might be the best way to learn more about what’s going on in their lives.

      My family knows that my husband is the main cook in our household, so when they come over for dinner they always thank him for the good meal. They do this even if I was the main cook of the meal they’re eating. (It’s not that they knew that in advance, as the meal was mostly ready by the time they arrived. Hubby usually responds with, you’ll have to thank Noelle for this one. Amazement follows.) I’m more organized and can time multiple dishes going at once better than he can, so if it’s a large roasted meat with multiple sides, that’s my job. And I only want minimal help, or it messes up my schedule. For cleaning up, I’ll gladly accept help. I also accept contributions of bread, pies, cheesecakes, beers, and wines to any dinner.

      For day to day cooking and experiments with food, that’s almost always my husband. I’m not sure why cooking is still considered feminine. Everybody who likes to eat should like to cook.

      • Space Blizzard

        “People are often more open and chatty while cooking, so it might be the best way to learn more about what’s going on in their lives.”

        I should point out that one of the women doing the work is actually my other. I’ve asked her before what the deal is with this arrangement and she said that she finds it just as weird as I do but goes with it just because it’s what everyone seems to expect. As far as she can tell there was never any sort of discussion where this set-up was arranged, it’s just been like that as far back as anyone can remember.

        “Everybody who likes to eat should like to cook”

        Yes! I agree with this.

        Actually I just realized something that ties into what I was saying, me and my brother learned to cook for ourselves at a very young age because we enjoyed making our own meals and eating when we wanted to, whereas my cousins (whose mothers are now doing all the meal preparation at Christmas) relied on others, usually women, to cook for them well into their late teens and possibly even adulthood. Maybe that has something to do with why I find the idea of sitting at a table and having someone else bring me my food so weird unless I’m in a restaurant, and segregating the roles by gender just makes it stranger.

      • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

        You sounds like me – MrBasketcase helps with the basic prep: peeling vegetables and some chopping, then sets the table etc. I prefer to sit down and watch others do the cleaning up, and will always welcome with open arms any guest who arrives with booze or dessert :)

  • Mel Johansson

    For those of us late to the party, can you explain who Debi is? I’ve searched through previous posts in vain.

    • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

      Debi Pearl, wife of Michael Pearl. Authors of To Train Up A Child – a book on using child abuse to control your children into being perfect.

      • http://aztecqueen2000.blogspot.com/ AztecQueen2000

        It turns “the beatings will continue until morale improves” from a tongue-in-cheek statement to a parenting philosophy.

      • Niemand

        I keep thinking that someone ought to tell the Pearls and their ilk that the phrase “the beatings will continue until morale improves” is supposed to be a joke, not an instruction on how to improve morale.

      • BobaFuct

        Fundamentalists tend to lack any sense of snark, sarcasm, satire, or irony. My fundie, gun-totin’, Murrica-fuck-yeah cousin proudly posted a quote about Obama ruining the country or some such on her facebook page, which garnered many “amens” and such from her fundie friends…the quote was from the Colbert Report.

      • dj_pomegranate

        Oh dear.

      • Jayn

        Yeah, I recall hearing that conservatives somehow think he’s mocking liberals :/ Like a reverse Poe or something (Personally, I’m a little more fond of the Daily Show, showing how stupid things can be by letting them be stupid.)

      • Nate Frein

        The epitome of this was when he was invited to speak at one of George Bush’s press balls.

      • onamission5

        I saw this, and Colbert’s speech was brilliant. The banquet attendees didn’t know what they were in for at all!

        For me, it marked the first time a public figure had gone out and said what I was thinking out loud and in public and directly to the people who needed to hear it. In case anyone is wondering what we’re talking about…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7FTF4Oz4dI

        “press balls”
        *snicker*

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Here is where I introduce this series: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/created-to-be-his-help-meet

      This one has a little background too: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/07/debi-pearl-is-not-very-nice.html

      And then of course, if you start with the beginning of this series (links are in the first like above), you’ll get some background too.

      The long and short of it is, she and her husband Michael run a ministry called No Greater Joy in which they write books for fundamentalists about proper family life, child rearing, etc., and they are widely followed and in some circles (including by my parents, meaning that I grew up on their teachings).

      • Mel Johansson

        Thank you! *heads off to take BP meds*

      • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

        Good idea. Keep them handy.

  • ako

    When a man is not in command of his little kingdom and is not shown the
    deference and reverence that goes with that position, his kingdom will
    not be ruled correctly, and the subjects of that kingdom will not
    experience the benevolence of a king who truly loves and cherishes them.

    A king who demands every single subject reverence him at all times or else he won’t truly love and cherish them and won’t rule well is a great argument for a democratic revolution. And a man who demands reverence and deference from his family at all times or else he’ll withhold love and make bad decision to spite them is a great argument for divorce. If someone has toddler-like temper tantrums or passive-aggressive sulking fits whenever they don’t get exactly what they want, they really shouldn’t have power over other people until they’ve learned to act better and show some self-control. Although in Debi Pearl’s world, men seem to be exempt from self-control, while women and children are expected to master 1984-like skills in not revealing subversive thoughts.

    It is not God’s plan for you to remain seated at the dinner table or in your lounge chair and expect him to serve himself.

    You know, my dad often gets up and pours himself a glass of milk or grabs some crackers without even asking my mom to get it for him. Sometimes he’ll even go “Can I get you something?” and bring a drink or a snack to his wife, his sons, or *gasp* his daughter! He’s been known to make dinner on occasion, and do the dishes several times a week. Total defiance of God’s plan! And, judging by over three decades of incredibly happy marriage, defying God’s plan is a great way to live.

    (My mom also sometimes gets up and brings people a drink or a snack, because she’s a considerate person and an actual feminist, not some man-hating strawfeminist caricature, and having someone ask if you’d like some cookies because they’re thinking of you and would like to make your life nicer is, in my opinion, a lot nicer than having them fetch and carry because they feel they have to.)

    Surrendering your autonomy to another is not for wimps.

    No, actually, voluntarily surrendering your autonomy without being coerced into it in any way is the perfect thing for wimps. Being an independent person, with opinions that might be wrong, and the risk of making bad decisions and failing is much harder than clinging, leech-like to someone else and abdicating responsibility for any decision bigger than “Is my smile sincere enough?” It’s difficult, but in terms of courage or the lack thereof, it’s the soft option.

    God made man so that our deference and respect feed his tendency to show tenderness and to be protective of us.

    I must be living in a world God didn’t make, then, because where I am, there are men who can be kind, respectful, and even tender and protective towards women who don’t defer to them. And there are men who can be monstrously cruel towards women who do everything humanly possible to defer and obey. And kind, thoughtful men who get totally creeped out by excessively deferential behavior. Kind behavior tends, on average, to result in kindness, but there are many exceptions, and men (and women) aren’t driven by simple feedback loops.

    It is not enough to get up and serve him; your eyes and the quick,
    carefree swing of your body must indicate your delight to be engaged in
    serving your man.

    Ah, now here’s the clever bit. Having established a behavioral mechanism that doesn’t actually work in reality, she needs to create an excuse for the inevitable failures. This way, women who try and fail won’t go “Well, that didn’t work!”, but “I must have had something insufficiently deferential in my eyes!” or “Am I swinging my body in a sufficiently carefree fashion?” Perpetually analyzing their body language and tone of voice for hints of disrespect will suck up the mental energy that might have gone towards recognizing this toxic bullshit for what it is! And Debi now has infinite license to play the “Well, you must not have been trying hard enough!” card.

    You cannot fool a man. He can see your heart as well or better than you can.

    So men are all psychic, and the height of femininity is being trapped in a decades-long version of “It’s a Good Life”?

    • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

      If someone has toddler-like temper tantrums or passive-aggressive
      sulking fits whenever they don’t get exactly what they want, they really
      shouldn’t have power over other people until they’ve learned to act
      better and show some self-control.

      My two year old nephew has just discovered sulking. He does it excellently: pouting his bottom lip like a pro, and standing right in your field of vision so you’re constantly aware that he’s NOT HAPPY. Yesterday, he lost his temper over me stopping him getting run over by a car, and threw his bag on the ground very dramatically. And then he lost his temper again over the fact that he couldn’t reach his bag.

      This is annoying behaviour, but kind of expected, since he’s two. But I’m assuming (from experience with previous nephews) that he’ll grow out of it by the time he’s about four.

      The idea of people finding it acceptable in FULLY GROWN MEN, on the other hand…

      • alwr

        My nephew still does it. And he is 18.5 and about to start college. Of course, his mommy gives him what he wants when he does it and also yammers about patriarchy (despite being thoroughly secular and hoping for him to drink, do drugs and engage in promiscuity at college).

      • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

        Yeah… that’d do it. My nephew doesn’t get what he wants from sulking. He just gets three adults staring at him blankly and saying “yeah, nice try, but… no.”

    • ZeldasCrown

      “And Debi now had infinite license to play the ‘Well, you must not have been trying hard enough!’ card.”

      ^^this. So, so much this. She’s done this throughout the entire book. The biggest problem is that success as a help-meet seems to be defined as “if things are going well, then you’ve done a good job.” She’s stated repeatedly that you must be sure that you’ve been a prefect help-meet before you seek help…but if you need help, I’ve been left with the impression that you haven’t been a good help-meet, and on and on it goes. She’s set it up so that she’s able to move the goalposts wherever they need to go when a situation arises in which her advice didn’t work, so that she can claim that they actually weren’t following her advice correctly.

    • minuteye

      “having someone ask if you’d like some cookies because they’re thinking
      of you and would like to make your life nicer is, in my opinion, a lot
      nicer than having them fetch and carry because they feel they have to.”

      I feel like this is something that Debi is trying to make up for with the “you have to have a carefree smile too” bit. People being nice to you because they want to is better than people being nice to you because they have to, so rather than give up on the idea that women have to be nice to their husbands, Debi adds on the requirement that you have to be able to mimic the fulfillment of kind acts in an egalitarian relationship.

      tl;dr Somebody wants to have their cake and eat it too.

    • gimpi1

      Every statement in your reply rings true to me. Considerate people are much nicer to be around, gender doesn’t enter into it. You can’t control someone else’s behavior, through submission or any other way. And way to spot the you didn’t do it right card. Oh, and all men are PsiCops? that’s creepy. Well done, Ako.

  • Melody Jones

    Surrendering your autonomy to another is not for wimps. People say of an obedient woman, “Oh, she is just the meek and timid type; she needs to get a life of her own.” They know not whereof they speak.

    Okay. So my best friend and I have been screaming at each other a.l.o.t. over everything the Pearls’ have ever touched, and this frequently comes up: what Debi is advocating is a full time M/s relationship. Except without RACK or SSC or any communication or safe words or limits.

    Everything in that statement that Debi makes is true, and in specific, negotiated situations, it can be a great thing. What makes it great though, is the communication and trust, and not this mindless adherence to baseless, limitless, reverence. If you want to sub for someone, great.

    HOWEVER AND THIS IS A HUUUUUUUUUUGE HOWEVER: D/s is noooooooooooooooooooot for everyone.

    Debi is doing bad things to the scene and to religion and to people and just.

    no.

    -flips a table-

    • Thomas

      I came here to say exactly what you said. Good job

    • NeaDods

      I’m not wildly sure she wanted to sub. I think she wanted Michael and Michael wanted a sub and that ALL of this is her trying to rationalize the cognitive dissonance.

      • TurelieTelcontar

        I think she just doesn’t want to sub all the time. I think that she likes it for sex, but doesn’t want a full time M/s relationship. And the cognitive dissonance comes in because she doesn’t know to differentiate between the two.

        But that’s my opinion as someone with no practical experience, although I did read quite a lot about it…

      • Melody Jones

        I think a lot of this is just what Michael wants, and Debi realizing that it can work out great with trial and error, and if only she could like it as much as he does, then everything would be okay… but since he’s a three year old, he won’t communicate because “that’s not how God built him” and he keeps telling her this, so she internalized it, and I’m also 1495% sure that there was a ridiculous amount of gaslighting that happens in that household, and just awful things all around, and the only thing that “works” is adherence to the (in this situation) unspoken rules that can govern a M/s relationship.

        So then she wrote a book about it, swearing up and down to the sky that this was God’s will, and her husband gave her cookies and probably awesome sex, and support, and heyo! Now she’s on board with all of this. Even if it isn’t what she wants outside the bedroom. Because this is probably the most respected and cherished she’s ever been since she was 17. Why wouldn’t she support it. :(

        (THIS MAKES ME SAD.)

      • NeaDods

        I’ll admit to practical experience, although I’ll draw a veil over the details. I’ll agree Debi very much wants to submit in the bedroom – heck, she got into this mess mostly because she wanted to have sex with Michael; note that her first lesson in emotional withdrawal as a punishment was barely after the wedding before she had been “properly bedded.” And she gets a kick out of the caveman routine, *there* as she brags.

        But she tangled not with a Dom, but with a narcissist at best and a sociopathic narcissist at worst. His hubris goes well beyond 24/7 M/s. Just reading her description of him makes it clear that he thinks he’s God – and she’d damn well better do the same if she knows what’s good for her.

      • TurelieTelcontar

        I just wanted to give the fact that for me it’s all very theoretical – so people know that I could be talking complete idiocy.

        I didn’t mean to make it sound as if I think this is a good representation of a BDSM relationship. More that Debi is someone who could have been happy in one, if she had had information about it, and gotten with an actual Dom. Instead, I think she didn’t get any accurate information, and the fact that she does like it in sex leaves her in a position where she doesn’t have a frame of reference. Her not knowing anything about healthy expressions of her desire, and better ways to find someone, leaves Michael’s explanation as the only one she has, and she doesn’t know that it’s fucked up. I just think that the fact that she likes being submissive sometimes gives him a foothold to insist that she likes it always, and that that’s the natural way god intended for everyone.

      • Melody Jones

        I don’t think she wanted to sub at all either, before or after her marriage to Michael. I do however think that it is what Michael wants, and he’s actually secretly a three year old with all of the emotional depth of an atom and the patience of an incredibly cranky child. What she wants really doesn’t matter in this situation, because it’s all about what Michael wants, which, just supports that her relationship model is a hugely dysfunctional M/s relationship.

        Everything from “conquering” her in the bedroom, her waiting on him hand and foot, her never questioning him or his whims, her always acquiescing to his will, her reiteration that a woman’s “deference and respect [will] feed his tendency to show tenderness and to be protective of us”, as if it is inconceivable that a man would show tenderness or protectiveness (which, what? jealousy? something? her idea of protection is mind boggling) if “his woman” wasn’t surrendering 100% of her autonomy to him.

        There was some talk a while ago on something related about maintenance spankings (check for bdsm), there have been things about questioning a husband leads to bad things (check for things that tick off a M (which is why you communicate things before you start a scene or a lifestyle so that you know what on earth is going on)), and over and over again, Debi keeps promising her readers that by surrendering their will to their men, they will be treated as queens, that their husbands will delight in them emotionally and physically, that if only they know the correct ways to convince someone that the sole reason for their existence is to serve them, they will be exulted … it looks an awful lot like a bdsm relationship. Regardless of her intent. And most importantly, she keeps claiming that this will happen no matter the man, because “all men deeply desire to have total control over their wives” and anything less is unholy and unfulfilled and unbiblical instead of maybe power play dynamics just not being someone’s cup of tea.

        It doesn’t matter if Debi Pearl realizes that what she’s advocating is bdsm or not. What matters is that she’s offering up a version of bdsm that is as painfully wrong as 50 Shade’s version, and it is nothing more than a recipe for abuse unless all the stars align and a fairy godmother blesses the union with pixie dust. Bdsm does not have to be unhealthy, but any bdsm relationship built on this foundation would be significant cause for worry for any pursuant of that lifestyle.

      • NeaDods

        he’s actually secretly a three year old with all of the emotional depth of an atom

        As I say in another comment, I’m pretty convinced at this point that he’s a sociopathic narcissist. His gleeful joy at being A Man (TM) and self-described laughter at even things like being cited in child murder by abuse cases goes well beyond being a man-child.

        as if it is inconceivable that a man would show tenderness or protectiveness (which, what? jealousy? something? her idea of protection is mind boggling) if “his woman” wasn’t surrendering 100% of her autonomy to him.

        Debi’s already described that he froze her out for daring not to cross him but to question him barely an hour after their wedding. I have no doubt that to her it IS inconceivable that a man would show tenderness without slavish, delighted devotion because her whole experience shows otherwise. Her personal god has told her otherwise.
        Debi keeps promising her readers that by surrendering their will to
        their men, they will be treated as queens, that their husbands will
        delight in them emotionally and physically, that if only they know the
        correct ways to convince someone that the sole reason for their
        existence is to serve them, they will be exulted … it looks an awful
        lot like a bdsm relationship

        But subs do it *because they get off on being a sub* and it’s so obvious that Debi does not. That she secretly resents that Michael won’t take out the trash. That she prides herself on getting all the devotion right not because it’s a skill she wants to perfect, but because she is treating Michael like a vending machine and the world like an adoring audience – she does all the right things and the emotions she wants from him come out and the praise from others (including God, according to her) rolls in.

        She not only doesn’t like it, she goes out of her way to talk about how hard that kind of devotion and control is for her to do. This isn’t even bad BDSM, it’s sheer cognitive dissonance overlaying emotional abuse.

      • Katherine Hompes

        I now have this picture in my head of “Master “Michael- the twuest Domly Dom- just ask his slave!

    • Katherine Hompes

      Yes! This!

      As someone for whom D/s IS for- thank you. The amount of times I have seen BDSM conflated with this tripe is enough to make my blood boil (complete with steam coming from my nose and whistling from the ears!).

      A consensual M/s relationship is much healthier than anything proposed by the Pearls

    • tarian

      THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKING.

      So D/s is definitely not for everyone, and this is a wildly unsafe variant of it that is indistinguishable from abuse. NOT GOOD. DO NOT DO THIS. And if somebody tells you it’s required of you by God, well…. they’re lying, or if that’s [a] God’s will, you are facing a god that you should definitely not worship. Run screaming, maybe, but not worship.

  • Niemand

    The commonly quoted “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue
    it; have dominion over . . . every living thing that moves” command is
    explicitly given to both man and woman.

    Off topicish, but it just struck me how creepy this quote is. We as a species seem to be succeeding quite well…and as a result the bees are dying and the poles melting. Are you sure it wasn’t Satan pretending to be god who said this? (Yeah, I know, fictional characters and all, but it doesn’t seem very…consistent…with a loving god to set humans up for disaster this way.)

    • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

      “Be fruitful and multiply. But if you guys turn out to be jerks (which I’m omniscient,so I know how this is going to go), I’m going to wipe you out in a flood. Just sayin’…”

      • Niemand

        Hmm…I suppose that could be interpreted differently depending on if God is the author or the GM. If he’s the author (everything that happens happens according to “god’s plan”) then he’s just being a jerk. If he’s the GM (the characters can and do derail the plot, alter the story line, and sometimes lead to places the GM didn’t plan) then he’s still being a jerk but it’s more the “I’m frustrated so I’m going to make rocks fall on you and everyone die” sort of jerk than the “I’m setting you up for horror from the beginning” kind of jerk. (Yeah, I know. I should get out more.)

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        LOL. So which version of Jerk God do you prefer? Not a very happy question.

      • TurelieTelcontar

        Well, an omniscient and omnipotent god would be the author. The GM is contrained by the plot of the game he plays, and can’t decide to just change all the rules, so he’s not omnipotent, and probably not imniscient if he didn’t know beforehand what plot he needed for the characters to actually follow it… :-)

    • alwr

      The Catholic interpretation is that this is a call to be good stewards of creation and care for the environment.

    • tatortotcassie

      Well, remember the context(s). The story of Noah ends with the vast majority of life wiped out. If humans didn’t multiply it would mean extinction.
      And the story of Noah was told during a time in which human mortality rates were far higher (and the world’s population was far lower) than they are today. Being fruitful was a nothing more than a survival strategy for the species.

  • Niemand

    It is NOT God’s will for your husband to reverence you.

    I’ll admit my knowledge of Christian theology is not the best, but I’m pretty sure that this is blasphemy. I don’t think people are supposed to claim to understand the will of God or to make any claims about who is doing right. Judgement is supposed to be God’s job, not man’s (or woman’s.)

    • Mel

      Debi also encourages idolatry.

      First or second commandment: I am the Lord, your God. You shall not have any gods besides me.

      Theologians of all stripes have made the logical connection that any item or person that is placed between a person and God is an idol. Since Debi commands that women place their husbands in the place of Jesus and God, she is teaching idolatry.

    • TLC

      “Your husband is not there to show you deference or to be your helper. It is NOT God’s will for your husband to reverence you.”

      Oops, once again we have a Bible-thumping Christian who quits reading in the Old Testament. Debi, please turn to Ephesians 5:

      “21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

      So you BOTH are to submit to EACH OTHER.

      “22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.”

      This is where most evangelical men quit reading. And start beating up their wives about not “submitting” well enough. But please, Debi, continue:

      “25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.

      So yes, Debi, it IS God’s will for a man to reverence his wife. “He will give up his life for her.” Is that not reverence?

      He’s supposed to hold her in the same esteem that Christ holds the church. But maybe, if this is what His Church as turned into, maybe the reverence has toned down a bit.

  • http://exploringthejungle.wordpress.com/ Kat

    “It is not God’s plan for you to remain seated at the dinner table or in your lounge chair and expect him to serve himself. Our modern society has conditioned us to expect him to serve us.”

    I really have to wonder here what Debi would say about a situation where a disabled woman is married to an able-bodied man. Suppose you can’t wait on your husband hand and foot — do you get a pass for physical disability, or is it still somehow your fault and you need to find a way to do the impossible? For some reason, I strongly suspect the latter.

    • Rachel Heston-Davis

      I expect Debi would believe that disabled women should not get married to begin with. Or maybe she’s forgotten that disabled people exist.

      • http://exploringthejungle.wordpress.com/ Kat

        I’m sure you’re right, but that doesn’t address the question of what happens if the disability occurs after the marriage (for example, if you’re paralyzed in a car accident). I guess I was thinking about this because I had a back injury not too long ago, and, while it wasn’t too serious and won’t lead to permanent problems, for a few days I could hardly walk on my own. I couldn’t even take care of myself, let alone anyone else. If it had been a permanent problem, I would have needed my husband (or another caregiver) to wait on pretty much all the time. But I’m betting that scenario doesn’t exist in Debi’s world either. And if it somehow does, it’s the woman’s fault.

      • Rachel Heston-Davis

        Good point, Kat! I too wonder what Debi would say about that. In fact, there could be all kinds of things that would make a woman physically unable to serve a husband–everything from the car accident example you gave, to pregnancy bed rest ordered by a doctor, to even getting a bad stomach flu that lasts for several days. In reality, there are lots of reasons that women can’t always fulfill these duties. Don’t you just wish we could ask Debi these specific quandaries?

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        Pfft. Doctor!

      • Christine

        It wouldn’t happen to a Godly woman. If something like that happens to you it’s a divine judgement because you did something wrong. (She would probably acknowledge that it might be a man’s fault if it happened to him, but that wouldn’t be reason for you to think any less of him). If you start being a proper little Stepford Christian again, you will be miraculously cured. Of course you can’t wait on him hand-and-foot, but you should be trying your best, and given that it’s clearly your own fault (by the “logic” above) that you’re unable to do so, you’re just as guilty as if you chose to not do so.

      • Mogg

        That crippled woman would ignore the doctor and serve her husband anyway, as a sign of her godly willingness to serve even beyond her natural capacity. God will provide if she did it out of the right motivation… *spit*

        Sorry, this particular post triggered me a bit – I thought I was past that :-( At least I got angry, instead of feeling hopeless…

      • Christine

        Angry is good. I’m glad that you’re getting better though.

      • Nancy Shrew

        I guess that’s what daughters are for.

    • Newbie

      Great point! You don’t even have to go as far as thinking of a disability per se though. Considering that those women are expected to have all those children, doesn’t it seem inconsiderate, or downright cruel, to require an exhausted 3rd trimester pregnant woman, or nursing mother recovering from delivery, to get up and wait on the husband hand and foot while he just sits there? Maybe that’s how Michael treated Debi and this is her bitterly saying “I had to do it, so should everyone else”

    • Katherine Hompes

      Oh, I’m sure my disability is punishment for my past sins- and of course it would be my fault! Now excuse me while I work on a pleasing sway while walking with crutches…

  • Maury

    I think Machiavelli would like to have few words with Michael and Debi.

    • Mel

      Inside a Hallmark card:
      Dearest Mike and Debi,

      Thank you for proving so many of my theories work in the domestic sphere. Keep up the good work.

      Love and kisses,

      Niccolo Machiavelli

    • Nate Frein

      Machiavelli had the excuse that his work was satire.

  • wanderer

    So many things about this section disturb me, but I think the cake-taker was the way she wants to tell me how my body should move when I get up to go re-fill a man’s dinner plate. That woman must work SO hard at monitoring her every action, move, expression, and gesture. What a horrible life. There is no sense of living authentically or honestly with herself whatsoever.
    I would lose my mind if I had her life.

    • Katherine Hompes

      Also, what about people like me? I have mobility issues- I walk using crutches, so not only can I not sway invitingly, I can’t carry my own dinner dish, let alone anyone else’s.

  • Mr. Pantaloons

    You cannot fool a man. He can see your heart as well or better than you can.

    That is a pretty neat parlor trick for a someone like myself who, in every context outside of marriage, is demonized by the same people with the same bible for only being able (and allowed) to read a woman’s worth by her appearance and the condition of her hymen. Is this mind-reading something I learn when the priest says the magic words of “I now pronounce you man and wife,” or do you think I can get Penn and Teller’s cliff notes on this?

    As an aside, I was kind of wondering when you were going to mention the commission of having dominion over all of life across earth (Gen. 1:26), because it seems relevant to the idea of men being created to rule – as I understand Christian nationalism, it’s usually interpreted to refer to all humans, and specifically the most vocal flavor of Christians, but “logic” like Pearl’s could warp it quite naturally to include the artificial husband-wife dichotomy.

    • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

      I’m wondering how she jumps from “he may not be a godly man” to omniciently reading my mind. I’m having a hard time with that.
      And I love my husband, but he wouldn’t notice the bathtub overflowing if water was running down the stairs. Let alone reading my mind or noticing my body language if I’m not being overtly obvious.

      • Gillianren

        Gods, likewise. I love my boyfriend dearly, and I know he loves me, but he is not Mr. Perceptive. Actually, one of the things we’re working on in our relationship is getting him to notice things like my mood swings. Currently, if I am crying, he assumes it’s my physical condition, despite the fact that I seldom cry in pain.

    • Rosa

      Brilliant!

      If she doesn’t dress right you will be blinded by lust and have to abuse her even if she’s internally pure and irreproachable, But if you were her husband you would know her every thought! MAGIC

  • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

    Along this same vein, I recently read the book “The Surrendered Wife”. Pretty much same principles, but using the word surrender in place of submissive.
    I tried “surrendering”. I lasted all of 4 hours before my husband was irritated that I was acting-as he phrased it-”passive-agressive” (women are instructed to say “whatever you think is best” when hubby asks a question), and I was in tears because I felt like everytime I didn’t speak up, I was killing a part of me.
    I don’t know how people manage to do it for years without throwing themselves out a window.

    • Niemand

      Four hours isn’t bad. I suspect I’d last about 2 minutes before my partner started wondering what he’d done to piss me off so badly that I was hardly speaking to him and had nothing but sarcastic comments to make when I did say something.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        It only lasted 4 hours because I spent half of it pretending to have a migraine, just to avoid conversation. :S

    • Mira

      lol, I do the mock “submission” thing with my boyfriend when I want to piss him off. He HATES it, especially because I’m the exact OPPOSITE of that. ahaha.

    • http://exploringthejungle.wordpress.com/ Kat

      “women are instructed to say “whatever you think is best” when hubby asks a question”

      Like, always?
      “Honey, what do you want for your birthday?” “Whatever you think is best.”
      “The printer stopped working again. How do you fix it when it gives you this error message?” “Whatever you think is best.”
      “I’m going to the grocery store to pick up eggs and milk. Is there anything else we’re out of right now?” “Whatever you think is best.”

      I suppose in this fantasy land where men don’t lift a finger or give a shit what their wives think, and women don’t have any actual useful knowledge, this could “work.” Where I live (reality), this seems… impractical, to say the least.

  • dj_pomegranate

    “…It is not God’s plan for you to remain seated at the dinner table”

    Yeeeeeah. Evangelical literature/culture, and this awful book in particular, want “God’s plan” to be forefront in your decision-making process. “It is God’s plan that you serve/submit/go to church/not be gay/not have sex/etc…” and they promise terrible, terrible things if you don’t follow “God’s plan.” But those terrible things…never happen. I lived with my now-husband before we were married. I’ve had an abortion. And my life right now is pretty great. Makes you think that maybe “God’s plan” is a smokescreen for, oh, I don’t know, “Do what I say all the time.”

    God made man so that our deference and respect feed his tendency to show tenderness and to be protective of us.

    I just want to say: HAHAHAHAHA! I was in an emotionally abusive relationship once. My deference and respect just led him to expect MORE DEFERENCE. Tenderness and protectiveness? NOT SO MUCH. Nice try, though, Debi.

    He can see your heart as well or better than you can.

    I really, really, really don’t think so.

    • Mira

      If he can see my heart so well why does he always buy the wrong brand of toilet paper…

      • Niemand

        Because it’s not really the wrong brand. It’s the right brand if only you in your ladybrain could see its rightness.

    • onamission5

      No need to ever speak, ladies. Your husband can read your mind and will always do what is best for you, whether you like it or not. And if you don’t like it that is because you are not godly enough, so shut up and take it.

      /snark

      • Karen

        What mind? Ladies don’t get to have a mind, in this scenario.

  • Mira

    I surrendered my autonomy to my boyfriend. He ordered me to think for myself and do what I want to do.
    …well crap.

    • Jayn

      My husband is the same way. He’s always pushing me to get out more and do stuff for my own sake. As he put it, “I married my equal.” The last thing he wants to do is be Supreme Commander of my life.

      • Mira

        And to make it WORSE my boyfriend even says that I can pursue any career I like! And that I can stay at home if I want (I don’t, ew) or I can go be a manly woman in construction if I damn well please.
        *fainting couch*

      • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

        My husband is the same. And you know what, sometimes I wish he WOULD tell me what he thinks I should do with my life because I am damned well paralysed with options.

        But, that said, its more that I would respect what he suggested, and know he was suggesting something that suits me :)

        (Also, I think he is secretly loving having me at home at the moment – lots of baking, good meals. If only I could be happy with doing just this, we would be set. Shame about that)

    • The_L1985

      Recently, I seem to be caught in between my fiance and my parents. He has said to me, point-blank, “Don’t let your parents bully you. Don’t let me bully you. Don’t let anyone bully you.”

      But then, he’s one of those filthy Jewish heathens, so Debi wouldn’t consider him a “real man” anyway. :P

      • jhlee

        Gasp! They really are as bad as I hear they are! :D

  • c

    oh my gosh! where to begin. The command to have dominion over the earth is not a kingly rule and like you said, it’s for mankind as a species, not males. It’s more about how we as a species are in charge of the care and keeping of animal and plant life, and steward them so we can thrive and coexist on the earth. This dominion would obviously be given to women (and children) as well, simply as human dwellers of the earth. When God created Eve, I believe the “suitable helper” thing refers to Adam’s need for companionship but also help tending the earth. In the Pearl’s twisted version of Christianity, you are not to be by the man’s side as an accomplice, but being a helper only to him and his personal needs. So in this version, rather than, say, Adam planting tomatoes while Eve harvests wheat, Eve is untying Adam’s shoes and making sure his dinner is hot enough.

    Secondly, I think the Pearls must be outliers even in their ultra-patriarchal community, which is terrifying. Their teaching goes beyond even some of the most fundamentalist I’ve heard. As a Christian, I reject the teaching that women must only be in charge of domestic life, but most teachers in the movement try to appease the women by saying they are in charge of the home sphere, while the men are in charge of work or public life. They say women are the queens and managers of their homes. But in Debi’s world, even the domestic sphere belongs fully to the man. Instead of a scenario where man is a king and woman is a queen (which is weird enough), Debi wants wives to act like subjects, peasants of the kingdom who enjoy none of the privileges of royalty and are at complete mercy of the king’s whims. Debi doesn’t even say your husband is the president and you are the First Lady (antiquated enough). No, you are a random citizen, and how weird of a marriage analogy is that? Why does she think this way? She gains nothing out of this, did Michael just brainwash her?

    • TurelieTelcontar

      Why does she think this way? She gains nothing out of this, did Michael just brainwash her?
      My personal theory is that Debi is a masochist and submissive in the BDSM-sense, who grew up in a religious, patriarchal home, and her inclinations were twisted by that upbringing and her husband to her current view.
      Of course, I know only what I’ve read of her here, but it’s the only thing that makes any distant kind of sense to me.

      • c

        I can actually see that. She seems to get a thrill by being better than other women at being submissive.

      • Liz

        That’s the vibe I kinda get too… only that’s not the way you do BDSM and those kinds of relationships are not for everyone. Having a choice in deciding what for what works for you is extremely important.

    • Lucreza Borgia

      ” I think the Pearls must be outliers even in their ultra-patriarchal community, which is terrifying.”

      Given how often I have run into people who have read their books, I’m not sure this is true. You would be surprised by how many non-fundamentalist people have read their child abuse training manual.

    • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

      So in this version, rather than, say, Adam planting tomatoes while Eve
      harvests wheat, Eve is untying Adam’s shoes and making sure his dinner
      is hot enough.

      You know, I had never thought of it that way, and your way of seeing it makes SO MUCH SENSE!
      Yes, yes, yes! We should be helping each other by doing the bits we do the best :)

  • eamonknight

    ….Debi continues to be extrabiblical.

    Seems to me a lot of the stuff you cover — CTBHHM, the Daddy/Daughter creepshow, evangelical authoritarianism in general — is like that. It’s a baroque edifice of toxic dogma and pseudo-psychology erected on the thin foundation of a few proof-texts. Not that the Bible isn’t sexist and authoritarian in its own right, but the amount of extra baggage attached to it by the Pearls, Bill Gothard, et al, and accorded equal weight to the Book itself, well it reminds me a bit of this photo-gallery I ran across the other day: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/photos/4736/#igImgId_77129

    • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

      I feel sorry for the donkey

  • c

    Also, this book really does read like a straight-up manual for abuse.
    “Honey, I took your shoes off while I refilled your cup of hot tea while you sat at the table I am not allowed to sit at and ate the dinner I cooked you, why don’t you love and cherish me?”

    “Well, you technically did everything right, but there wasn’t enough happiness in your eyes while you did it, and you didn’t have that girlish sway that shows that not only are you doing my bidding, but you enjoyed every second of it and there’s nothing else you’d rather do. IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO SIMPLY SERVE ME.”

    • Vision_From_Afar

      “IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO SIMPLY SERVE ME”

      Wait, it really is exactly like Christians and their God…

  • lauraleemoss

    “And bullshit.” Mostly this is a summary if Debi’s dangerous beliefs.

  • Hat Stealer

    Also, I find it very confusing that Debi goes from endorsing “surrendering your autonomy to another” to laughing at the people who say that an “obedient” woman “needs to get a life of her own.”

    I think you misunderstand. Debbie isn’t laughing at the people who think that obedient women need to get a life because she thinks they’re wrong. She’s laughing at the idea that women need to get a life.

  • Goatless

    Women feel that they will lose some of their self-respect if they if they surrender to a man who is less than wonderful.

    No, actually, I feel like I’ll lose most of my self respect if I surrender to anybody.

    That doesn’t mean I hate authority, because working with or under somebody isn’t surrendering anything it’s just part of living as an adult. Surrendering myself would mean the sort of things Debi is talking about; having no sense of self, blindly obeying somebody and saying that whoever was in authority over me was there for a good reason (read; they have a penis and I don’t).

    My self respect says ‘don’t do things you find unethical’, ‘don’t let yourself be pushed around just to make life easier’, ‘question why you need to do/should want/should believe this’, ‘you are worth exactly as much as anybody else and don’t you forget it’, ‘you can do this’, ‘OK so maybe you need help doing this’. That sort of thing.

    It’s formed around my sense of self, which involves me being my own person. No matter my relationship status, I am still my own person.

    I don’t think a relationship should involve surrendering yourself to anybody, unless you are both into that sort of thing. It should be coming together, sharing parts of yourself and getting parts of your partner in return but neither should be forcing the other to surrender their self respect.

  • Rachel Heston-Davis

    Wait, so Debi’s saying that the reason a man loves and cherishes his wife is because of how she performs her servant duties? What about unconditional love? What about loving a women for who she actually is? Is she ACTUALLY saying that it’s okay for a man’s love to be conditional on whether the woman is fulfilling material duties? If so, I have to truly ask which Bible she is reading. Whether you believe in the Bible or not, it’s pretty clear in the NT that every believer is called to love others unconditionally regardless of the behavior of those others (and sometimes, to love even in the face of being treated badly). Nowhere does the Bible make an exception about this for married men. Even the Ephesians 5 passages that people like to quote to support the lead/submit model, even those passages do not make each partner’s “role” dependent on the other partner fulfilling their role.

    And second, how/when/where/why has the modern world “conditioned us” to expect men to serve women? That’s not the reality in most households, religious or not. Even women who work full time are much more likely to do more housework and childcare than their husbands, and their husbands are more likely to have time for leisure activities. I don’t even understand Debi’s claim—who in the modern world has set up the expectation that men are serving women, and what sector of the modern world is practicing that?

    • alwr

      Well, clearly, Christ loves the church only if it is walking with a bit of a sway while serving dinner. He died so we would smile while refilling his plate. Or something like that. I’m not sure. I’m a heathen Catholic.

  • onamission5

    Last time my mom came to visit (some years ago), she waited on Spouse hand and foot. She cleared his plates, brought him drinks and meals, she didn’t really speak to him unless spoken to. At one point she was literally sitting alone in a dark room because nobody had noticed her there and turned on the lights. Spouse saw and tried to engage her in conversation, thinking she was lonely, but she wouldn’t answer any questions about herself and kept deferring to him. Far from reverence, he found her behavior toward him quite infantilizing and puzzling.

    Later that night, he all but begged me to never act like that toward him on the grounds that it was really creepy. His argument basically rested on the pretext that “I’m a big boy, I can do it myself!” and “How can two people have a relationship if one of them isn’t actually present?” Having my mom interact with him in such a manner finally gave him some context for exactly why it made him so uncomfortable if I cleared his plate for him, why he felt the need to fold the laundry if I washed it, and also, why I’d get so frustrated when, say, left alone to clean up the kitchen after cooking a big meal.

    And the thing is, we two DO have our spheres. We do have, from external view at least, what’s considered to be a “traditional” arrangement in our relationship– I do home and kid stuff, he does paid job and financial stuff– but that’s the full extent of our traditionalism. I am a SAHM, he runs a business. The work I do mostly has to do with running the house and raising the kids, the work he does mostly has to do with keeping his business afloat and getting bills paid. There are a lot of reasons this works for us right now but none of them have to do with biblical edicts and they are all subject to change as our needs change. I am perfectly capable of working outside the home and had for years, he’s perfectly capable of cooking meals, arranging play dates, making appointments and keeping the kids in clean clothes, and does do that too, to a lesser degree than I do. If I went somewhere without him or the kids for a week, he’d manage just fine. Unlike my stepdad who, during my mom’s visit, called her every day to complain that she’d not cooked enough ready-to-heat meals for him to eat while she was gone so all he had left were hot dogs. *rolls eyes*

  • Lunch Meat

    The more I show my husband reverence, the more he treasures me and treats me like his queen.

    Kings treat queens like servants? How many palaces has Debi hung out in?

  • NeaDods

    This chapter, more than any of the other quotes, comes the closest to spelling out step-by-step precisely how Michael emotionally abuses Debi and the cognitive dissonance she uses to cope with it.

    First, Michael’s justification for his totalitarianism, with emphsis on his personal needs to the detriment of everyone else’s. Notice how much emphasis is given to Michael’s primacy!
    — Man was created to rule…
    — every man’s destiny is to be the leader of his household. To deny him this birthright is contrary to his nature
    — Your husband is not there to show you deference or to be your helper. It is NOT God’s will for your husband to reverence you

    Second, how Michael punishes with emotional manipulation, by withdrawing affection and aid, returning them only when he is properly sucked up to. Love and decent treatment are CONDITIONAL, ladies! Hop to!
    — When a man is not in command of his little kingdom and is not shown the deference and reverence that goes with that position, … the subjects of that kingdom will not experience the benevolence of a king who truly loves and cherishes them
    — The more I show my husband reverence, the more he treasures me and treats me like his queen.
    — God made man so that our deference and respect feed his tendency to show tenderness and to be protective of us.

    Third, victim blaming. Look what Debi made Michael do! Debi internalizes that she is indeed at fault.
    — When you neglect to reverence your husband, you are taking something precious away from yourself
    — It hurts our feelings if if he doesn’t do things that we feel he owes us, but that is not the plan God set into place

    Fourth, bitches be stupid, plus penis = godlike omnipotence
    — You cannot fool a man. He can see your heart as well or better than you can

    Finally, with no way out, Debi rationalizes that freedom is slavery and submission is strength:
    — Surrendering your autonomy to another is not for wimps
    — “Oh, she is just the meek and timid type; she needs to get a life of her own.” They know not whereof they speak
    — Deference to your man is the height of true femininity. It makes a woman beautiful

    Furthermore, notice how first time, smiling obedience is expected of ALL lesser beings, not just children:
    — Reverence is not just how you act; it is how you feel and how you respond with words and with your body language. It is not enough to get up and serve him; your eyes and the quick, carefree swing of your body must indicate your delight to be engaged in serving your man

    Of course she displays “thankfulness for his attention and affection.” (Can anyone else hear her very loudly not adding “because they are so conditional and disappear so often?)

    Considering that the Pearls have said that they’ll beat kids harder for not being cheerful about being treated as a slave, I seriously wonder if Michael has smacked Debi around to teach her her place as well as ground her down mentally and emotionally.

    • wanderer

      wow, great summary, thank you this is helpful to hear it broken down like that!

  • Rilian Sharp

    While you take off his shoes? That sounds really slavey, and anyway do people actually enjoy having others take their shoes off? I remember being dressed by my mom when I was little and it was NOT pleasant. I fought with her to let me just do it myself for years.

    • Lunch Meat

      I’ve tried to take off my husband’s shoes and give him footrubs before. He thinks it’s creepy.

      • sylvia_rachel

        My spouse and I often give each other footrubs. But taking each other’s shoes off would just be … weird. (We’re Canadian, so we never have shoes on in the house anyway; footrubs tend to happen when we’re sitting at opposite ends of the couch with our feet up, watching bad TV ;) )

    • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

      Having recently been pregnant, it has been about the only time in my life I have let someone take my shoes off, and thats because by the end of the day, I was physically incapable of doing it myself. This stopped as soon as I could do it myself!

  • Hilary

    Oy. Everything everybody else has said about how abusive and dysfunctional this all is, +1, but . . . how sad. Again, this just looks sad and pathetic, as well as horrible, that neither the man or the woman get to be human beings. Every time I read these entries, the same quote comes to mind: A pedestal and prison cell have one thing in common – they leave very little room to move around in.

    I like men, as friends, coworkers, and family. I feel like this dehumanizes them as much as it literally enslaves women.

  • Conuly

    What sort of jerkass expects his queen to serve him? If he’s saying that you rubbing his feet is how he treats you as a queen, Debi, you really ought to be holding out for more spending money or something. I don’t know, whatever motivates you.

    Seriously, does she listen to herself?

    • Christine

      Especially since she’s helping to earn it. Although I’m sure they’ve got some complex system which makes him be the one who earns all of it, because she respects him too much to earn money, or something.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        Nah. Remember the forward? He “approves” every word. I’m sure that’s his way of saying “Damn right, I wrote this! I just put her name on it to sell to women”

      • Christine

        Ok, so it’s a simple system. My point still stands :p.

  • Trollface McGee

    Kings weren’t reverenced for nothing in history. A bad king, with a bad economy and some smart enemies got his head handed to him… literally, and since marriages tended to be political alliances in nature, the wife would often be the one holding the door for the assassins. But no, Debi’s world, a penis entitles you to unquestioning command.

    “Your husband is not there to show you deference or to be your helper. It is NOT God’s will for your husband to reverence you.”
    What’s the purpose of one then? I mean, a decent pay check, a babysitter and a vibrator are a decent substitute considering Debi’s ideal man will not respect you, will not allow you to have independent interests, won’t help around the house and his only contact with the kids will be to preach and beat them… on the other hand I think a duplex and a vibrator are the better deal.

    “Women feel that they will lose some of their self-respect if they if they surrender to a man who is less than wonderful.”
    If someone already expects you to surrender your autonomy to him because of your gender, he is already less than wonderful.

    “Our culture stands diametrically opposed to God at every turn. ”
    Well, yes, we are moving away from how she and her ilk view God, and we are the better for it (and plenty of us are still religious or Christian AND feminist).

    “You cannot fool a man. He can see your heart as well or better than you can.”
    (well maybe if he’s a cardiologist) But wait, isn’t Debi and the whole complimentarianism movement all about how men and women are completely different, unable to communicate which is why they need strict gender roles because otherwise it’s like speaking two mutually exclusive languages? But… a man can understand, feel, know everything a woman is feeling? He knows that she has thoughts of her own, feelings, dreams… and with all this.. he still dehumanises her to the point of demanding a mindless slave? That’s just psychopathic and evil.

    It’s amusingly stupid until one realises that people actually live like this.. then it becomes frightening.

    • sylvia_rachel

      If someone already expects you to surrender your autonomy to him because of your gender, he is already less than wonderful.

      QFT.

      That should be a big, giant DANGER sign with red flashing lights right there.

  • oywiththepoodles

    The reviews of this book make me love and cherish my (heathen) husband so, so much.

  • Shaenon K. Garrity

    I have a glad face when my husband returns after being gone a short time. Because I’m actually happy to see him.

    • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

      Yes, and I serve my husband gladly because he helps around the house and does not treat me like a slave. I enjoy doing things for him because I want to, not because I should, and he does the same for me.

  • Karen

    This Debi Pearl is just batshit crazy. I truly cannot fathom how there are any people, females or males, who can fall for this crap. It scares me to even think of the women and children out there who are so negatively impacted by these attitudes.

  • Howl

    I wonder, has Michael Pearl has ever physically abused Debi Pearl? When a man has no problem advocating the physical abuse of even very young children in the name of total obedience, it isn’t much of a stretch to assume that at some point he has abused his wife as well. Or perhaps she learned her lessons of total and instant obedience early and well. It is interesting to me that in all of these discussions of obedience and submission that physical coercion doesn’t seem to be much discussed among the faithful (i.e., those committed to patriarchy) although physical means of compelling obedience/submission must happen frequently between husbands and wives in this environment.

  • http://1t412.wordpress.com/ Christina

    “Deference is a hot cup of tea while you take his shoes off after a hard day’s work.”

    I can’t imagine a husband who would feel anything but infantilized if his wife was constantly taking off his shoes for him. Seriously? That’s a life skill we teach kindergarteners.

    • Newbie

      Or, I could see most “normal” husbands or boyfriends taking it as a playful French maid or 1950s housewife game of role playing that will end in the bedroom.. Precisely because that kind of servitude is so uncharacteristic of a romantic relationship between adults at this day and age.

  • http://oddestnotions.blogspot.com/ Ginger

    Why is the wife’s aim to be protected by the husband? Most Americans don’t lead threatened lives. Is she being protected from having a life?

  • Composer 99

    Second, just because this works for Debi doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.

    I’m not sure that it works for Debi, either.

    (Also, apologies if someone else has mentioned this already.)

  • j_bird

    It is a glad face when he returns after being gone for a short time. It is thankfulness for his attention and affection. Deference to your man is the height of true femininity.

    She clearly has femininity confused with Golden Retrieverhood.

  • Jessica Powers

    What does this woman say to another woman who’s partner/husband/king beats her? That she wasn’t showing enough reverence?! I think I’m going to go throw up now…

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Yes, yes she does say that. And yes, it is completely nauseating.


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